Open Source. Hardly The Downfall Of The West.

I’m convinced I went to bed sometime in 1991, woke up in bizarre-o land, and never quite managed to get out of it.  And stories like this don’t help.

 How the hell is Open Source software a menace to all mankind? 

I don’t get it?  I use open source software everyday.  If I had a business, I’d find an open source solution at every turn I could. If I ran a government agency, I’d be trying to spend as little of the taxpayer’s money as possible and OSS is a pretty good place to start.  And let’s not forget the INSANE predatory pricing that certain software companies inflict on poorer nations at the threat of hauling them into court. 

While, yes, some OSS is started by those who naively want to keep the internet pure of that nasty money thing, I don’t think they will start hoisting digital pitchforks and shutting down traffic in online towns and villages.  I know I haven’t seen one of them while playing L4D online.  Oh wait, maybe I have… it’s a game about zombies.  Bad example.

Anyway… For some people (like me) OSS is a way to save money, it’s not a political statement.  It’s a way to have reasonable operability on my home computers and not paying ridiculous business oriented pricing or break the law by using pirated software.  

Let’s change the battle field of this argument for a moment.  Let’s say we have two bars.  Both have a Happy Hour from 3 to 6 (why is Happy Hour always more than one hour??).  One serves a loss leader of free chips and salsa and the other serves kettle corn.  Well one day a third bar opens up and serves a loss leader of a full free buffet.  You don’t have to buy anything, the owner just likes the way he cooks and is willing to take a hit.  His business model is so bad that he probably will be out of business by next week.

But a funny thing happens.  Mr. Buffet gets so many people coming in that really love his food and they don’t want it to stop so they buy his beer.  Some even donate.  Some supply the food to be cooked.  Finally others offer him jobs on the side to cook for them for large events.  His food takes off and now Mr. Buffet makes tons of cash.  So, instead of having a loss leader item, he has a loss leader BUSINESS.  The other two bars can whinge about it all they want and petition for laws and such and call it predatory pricing.  But getting laws passed is not the same as the truth being upheld.  For some, that is OSS.  And that, my friends, is good capitalism. 

For others, OSS is a passion (the above scenario and this one are NOT mutually exclusive).  For you who don’t understand, a real programmer is an artist.  They will program just as a painter will paint.  You can’t stop them.  Little apps that show up on the Google Market or The App Store for free are a programmer’s doodles, as it were.  Of course, some of these works may even be a grand labor of love between two or more programmers.  Governments and companies that seek to destroy OSS are, basically, trying to destroy an art form.  Good luck with that. 

And don’t worry about Microsoft, et al…   they will always make programs that do things that no others can do.  Or make them with an interface or setup that makes those programs accessible to people who don’t want to tweak and troubleshoot.  OSS will not tear down the walls of capitalism; it will just force companies to do business a little smarter.

H/T to Matt

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Conservative, educated, understands history, distrusts government, distrusts politicians, dislikes pop-culture, and carries a firearm. In short, I'm what The Framers of The Constitution were counting on and everything your government wants you to fear most.

The only thing I don’t have to complain about is some GI taking up space in my living room. I’ll let you know about the Civil Courts if someone ever owes more than $20 to me. ---If you didn’t get that one; sue your Civics or US History Teacher.

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